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Cleansing Conditioners: How To Use Them And Which To Buy

woman rinsing hair in shower

Over the past few years, the “no poo" method—washing your hair without the lather of traditional shampoo—has been hotly debated. With dry shampoos being used as a refresher between washes and washing less often playing a key role in the hair care routines of many women, some have also been opting for another product: cleansing conditioner.

Stumped on what exactly cleansing conditioners are and, more importantly, if you need one? Keep scrolling for everything you need to know.

What are cleansing conditioners?

Think of cleansing conditioners as a shampoo and conditioner all in one—the gentle formulas cleanse your strands while providing hair care benefits like conditioning, detangling and adding shine. Unlike traditional shampoo, cleansing conditioner is free of detergents and foaming agents that can sometimes leave your hair looking and feeling dull and dry if overused.

To use cleansing conditioner, simply massage a few pumps throughout wet hair, distribute the product evenly throughout your mane and thoroughly rinse as you would with regular shampoo. If you are unsure about completely trading in your shampoo for a cleansing conditioner consult with a hair care professional to determine what’s right for your hair.

Who should be using a cleansing conditioner?

Whether you’re dealing with fine, brittle strands or product buildup, there are cleansing conditioners formulated to tackle almost any hair type and concern.

If you’re experiencing any of these hair woes, or simply need a breather from your regular shampoo routine, it might be time to switch to a cleansing conditioner. Luckily, we’ve narrowed down a few of our favorites from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands to simplify your search.

Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Cleansing Milk

Looking to combat very dry strands? Give the Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Cleansing Milk a try. Infused with Camellia oil, this soft milky cleanser envelopes the fiber to condition and gently smooth away impurities.

Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Cleansing Milk, $58.00 MSRP

Pureology Vinegar Hair Rinse

While this isn’t exactly a cleansing conditioner, The Pureology Vinegar Rinse offers many of the same benefits that we love about them. Gently cleanse hair with the Vinegar Hair Rinse to create shinier, more radiant hair and remove product buildup using natural ingredients such as apple cider vinegar and cactus pear flower extract.

Pureology Vinegar Hair Rinse, $29.00 MSRP

Mizani True Textures Cream Cleansing Conditioner

Working with dry curls? Gently cleanse, and condition in one step with Mizani’s True Textures Cream Cleansing Conditioner, a co-wash that helps aid in retaining moisture and helps maintain the natural curl pattern for touchable texture.

Mizani True Textures Cream Cleansing Conditioner, $24.00 MSRP

Matrix Biolage Cleansing Conditioner For Fine Hair

If you have fine hair, using the wrong products for your hair type can seriously weigh down your strands. The Matrix Biolage Cleansing Conditioner For Fine Hair formulated with citrus provides thorough cleansing and lightweight conditioning to enhance shine, suppleness and anti-static control as a leave-in conditioner or deep conditioning treatment. It’s suitable for daily use or in between traditional shampooing.

Matrix Biolage Cleansing Conditioner For Fine Hair, $14.77 MSRP

Interested in more expert product recommendations? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.